Robert Kraft says Tom Brady wanted to leave, Patriots would have worked it out
Tom Brady announced on Tuesday that he will not return to the New England Patriots next season, and the team appears determined to make it known that the decision to part ways was Brady’s.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft says he met face to face with Brady on Monday night, at which point the six-time Super Bowl champion informed Kraft he will be signing with another team this offseason. Kraft told ESPN’s Mike Reiss that Brady has “earned that right” and that Kraft still loves him “like a son.” However, Kraft later told multiple reporters that the Patriots would have worked out a deal with Brady if the 42-year-old wanted to return.
Robert Kraft told me "if Tom wanted to remain a Patriot, we would have had a deal." Said Brady believes it was best to turn the page and start a new chapter of his life in football and beyond. #Patriots @nflnetwork
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 17, 2020
Stephen A just said Robert Kraft called him during the last commercial break and told him: "….be very clear if Tom Brady wanted to stay we would've worked it out, and he would've remained a New England Patriot. But Tom Brady wanted to leave."
— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) March 17, 2020
Kraft and Bill Belichick both also released statements praising Brady.
Statements from #Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft and Head Coach Bill Belichick on Tom Brady's Patriots career: https://t.co/DFmmbzAIdo pic.twitter.com/flVpDFB4HJ
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 17, 2020
We’ll probably never know what went on behind the scenes with Brady and the Patriots, but it was inevitable that Kraft would try to assure fans that the team did everything it could to keep the most important player in franchise history. There is almost certainly more to the story than that.
According to at least one report, the Patriots did not make a legitimate effort to keep Brady. All indications are that Belichick did not want to pay top starter money for a quarterback who will soon turn 43, and that is consistent with how the coach has operated throughout his entire tenure in New England.
Brady reportedly has some hefty offers from at least two teams. He had to have known the Patriots weren’t going to be the highest bidder, but it sounds like Belichick could have showed him more appreciation. We heard previously that Kraft had no intention of intervening in contract negotiations, so it’s hard to believe the Patriots did everything they could to re-sign Brady.